Herefordshire, England

We are happy to introduce you to Angela Dunning, author of the book “The Horse Leads the Way: Honoring the True Role of the Horse in Equine Facilitated Practice”

 

What’s your Mission Statement?

The Horse’s Truth invites people to drop their facades, honour their body and emotions, and cultivate their Soul through reconnecting to their true-self and natural rhythms. With horses as our partners to guide us and using a blend of feminine, nature-based spiritual practices, you will dive deeply into the truth of who you are, beneath the many layers of conditioning and domestication, while simultaneously offering space for the horses to rekindle their natural selves too.
Inspired the natural world, and embodied practices, together we will forge a new path. Together we will Walk the Horse Truth Way.

What services do you offer? What do you do? What is your expertise?

I offer three main services in Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and Personal/Spiritual Growth:
1) 1-1 EFL sessions for adult women – these are in-depth, somatic-based sessions with horses
2) Support for professionals in this field including mentoring; supervision; coaching and training
3) I write frequent best practice books, articles, Blog and social media posts
4) Group EFL workshops for both personal and professional development. My expertise is in advocating for and working sensitively with horses as partners and in particular, promoting their well-being and fulfilment in this work; working in a somatic way with people to get them back in touch with their own body’s insights and wisdom; working energetically, intuitively and when appropriately spiritually with people and horses; supporting other professionals to enhance their skills and confidence to be the best facilitator and advocate for partnering with horses they can; working with Highly Sensitive People; working with women with a background of Mother issues; low self-esteem and childhood issues.

 

How did you get into this? Your story. Why do you dedicate your life to this?

I became aware of equine facilitated human development when I was learning about myself being a Highly Sensitive Person some 15 years ago. I came across Linda Kohanov’s book The Tao of Equus which was nothing short of life-changing for me. As I read, I knew at a very deep soul level that this work was the direction I was destined to take at that point in my life. I went on to train with Linda in America between 2005-07 and set up my own EFL practice in July 2007 in the UK. I have loved horses ever since I can remember. As a young child all I wanted to do was be with animals, but particularly horses. Desperate for my own pony which never transpired, I was then blessed with the care of two ponies throughout my adolescence. On leaving school all I wanted to do was work with horses so I undertook a work-based BHS riding instructor training programme. However, I soon learned that the traditional approach to working with horses and teaching riding wasn’t right for me. The horses were mere vehicles/tools and I became quickly disheartened after seeing a lot of suffering going on with the horses. I left and embarked on another career direction. However, some 15 years later I realized I was suffering from not being around horses, so I started to re-engage with horses and at the same time as I began to explore my own personal development for the first time.

I came across Linda’s book and my life changed utterly. I felt I had found the right approach which was completely in-line with my own towards horses. What I was learning was possible via engaging with horses in a radically different, freer way was astounding. I got so much out of it myself that I just knew very deeply this was the right profession for me to enter. I also found I was very adept, (to my surprise!) at supporting people and particularly when they are vulnerable. The two came easily and effortlessly together for me: to work sensitively and respectively with horses and to support people through sometimes difficult blocks and trauma. It came very naturally to me and for the first time in my life I felt aligned – personally and professionally.

Since setting up my EFL practice I’ve been on a very up and down, circuitous journey, definitely not a linear one. I started out with 3 horses and a facility for the first few years, then I had to sacrifice all of this. I then became freelance and since then have worked on and off in this field, doing other work to make ends meet as necessary. Astonishingly, I got one of my horses back but only for him to die just over a year later, so I am once again working on a freelance basis with people locally with their own horses and occasionally I work out of other EFL/EFP centres to run group/training sessions.

A few years ago I was dismayed at much of the equine facilitated/assisted practice I was seeing both here in the UK and elsewhere, and especially in regard to how the horses were being used and regarded. So much so that I felt compelled to write a best practice book. The aim was to draw attention to methods which honour the horses versus those which merely utilise horses as tools. I published my book, The Horse Leads the Way: Honoring the True Role of the Horse in Equine Facilitated Practice in February 2017. I suspect I’ll write further books when I feel the need/calling. Since then, thankfully, there has been a shift in this profession with regard to the horses and there is a wider conversation happening about how horses are being treated. Astonishingly, until my book, there were no books and no research focused on the horses; it was all about the benefits to the clients. This seems to be changing.

Since then, I have become a passionate advocate for the role and well-being of the horses in this work and it underpins my entire approach. I am passionate about working with nature and not against her, and definitely not using nature for our, human gain. For me this work is a microcosm of the entire current state of ecological crises the world is facing and I am fiercely against using horses to solely benefit humans. My book and approach advocate how this is unnecessary and when you work together, as partners, the work shifts to a whole other level and both species benefit naturally and greatly. So the “usage” is actually counter-productive at the end of the day. It is just symptomatic of humans’ laziness and desire to maintain their position as the dominant and more important species. I am totally against this philosophy and encourage others to practice in a way which respects the horses and their immense contribution, above all else.

It seems I can’t give this work up. Again and again it calls me back. Just when I think I’ve moving in another direction, it pulls me back. At the same time, I can NEVER imagine not doing this work, I truly feel it will always be a part of my life in some way whatever else I am involved or focused on.

 

Who do you help?

I work with adult women who typically have the following issues: low confidence and self-esteem; relationship and boundary issues; assertiveness; those seeking a deeper and more spiritual relationship with themselves and horses; those in need of body-focused support; women with Mother issues; those who regard themselves as highly sensitive; intuitive; empathic and/or spiritual also. I also work with other practitioners who are seeking a more sensitive and respectful approach to their work with horses. Again, they often have the above issues to work through and I work with professionals on their personal issues too as the two are intimately connected, in my experience.

How do you help them?

In-person: Through gentle reflective coaching session – working with mind, body, soul, spirit. I work on the energetic level, focusing subtly on the intrusive thoughts and beliefs that block people; on their emotions surfacing through connecting with their body; through the responses in their body, and by watching the horses at all times to tune-into their responses to the client/s. With the horses, I guide my clients to their own truth and power. As well as helping them better understand what the horses are doing and communicating, often by dispelling the many myths found in the dominant equestrianism approaches. I draw on other resources and techniques when appropriate including psychology, Shamanism, meditation, breath-work and recommend books and other professionals when appropriate. Via Skype/telephone – I work in a similar way with individuals/practitioners to guide them to their own truth and to help them discover what works best for them.

 

Testimonials

“Angela Dunning is both professional and heartfelt – I have had the privilege of working with Angela both personally and professionally – her ability to hold a sacred space and allow the horses to guide you to new places in your life is powerful – I would highly recommend experiencing this transformative work with her.” Helen Russell”Equines love Angela because they feel she sees with her heart and uses her brain only to assist her way of being around her clients – holding a sacred calm and space. This is a rare gift. Experiencing this is the only way to know it – I recommend this for all.” D Esplin

 

“The Horse Leads the Way provides by far the best in-depth treatment on this topic that I have ever read.”
“It is like the bible of Equine Assisted Learning.”
“This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to include horses in any kind of interventions intended to benefit humans, whether for therapy, personal development or learning.”

 

Do you have a facility or offer an outreach service?
Outreach/freelance mostly.

Angela is passionate about working sensitively with horses. She is based in Herefordshire, England, but welcomes any opportunity to share this anywhere in the world. “Working with groups in other cultures I think would be very interesting”
Angela also offers online sessions via Skype.

 

Contact Angela via her website
 www.thehorsestruth.co.uk

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